Are There Really People Who Only Work 40 Hours A Week Or Less And Complain Why They Can’t Get Ahead?

Sleepy CatThere have been a number of data points recently that have caught me off guard. Apparently, there are people in this world who actually work 40 hours a week or less and complain why they can’t get ahead! I understand if you are retired, a student, handicapped, or under-employed how you might not work 40 hours a week. But, I’ve only heard about places like France where people work less than 40 hours a week and start going on strike if they have to work more!

Working 40 hours a week or less is fantastic if you are happy with your income and career, not bored out of your mind, and can get away with it. Unfortunately, I am neither skilled enough to do what I want with that little amount of time, nor do I have the courage to work so little for what I am being compensated for. I think I would probably get fired if I worked that little. Besides, I have about 80 hours of work energy in me a week now. Might as well utilize it before it fades.  How about you?

Data point #1: Two women on the bus were chatting next to me and explaining what a long day at work they had. It was 6:30pm and one woman said, “Thank goodness the day is over! I got in an hour early at 8:30am and am absolutely exhausted!” She’s exhausted for being in the office for 10 hours with an hour long lunch break? Sign me up!

Data point #2: For some reason, my article “How Much Do The Top Income Earners Make By Percentage?” continues to get random commenters (1,000+ now) who turn the simple question into a political and social debate about why the rich should be paying more taxes, and the lower 50% should be paying even less taxes. One commenter says I’m out of touch with reality when I explain that anybody who really wants to be in the Top 50% of income earners ($33,000) can do so if they wanted to. All you have to do is work 63 hours a week at $10 to make $33,000 a year! He says that’s ridiculous as he can’t make that working 40 hours a week (no kidding).

Data point #3: My friend in HR said her firm is implementing overtime compensation for certain level of workers who work more than 40 hours a week. I asked her why her firm was rewarding their workers for working hours they’re supposed to anyway? That’s like rewarding the cable guy who comes within the allotted window! She giggled and shrugged. If I am the CEO, and you command overtime compensation for working more than 40 hours a week, I will do my best to refer you to my competitor to blow them up.

Data point #4: A blogger who moved to a foreign country to experience location independence, swims for hours a day, “works” about 30 hours a week and says he’s burned out. He’s upset that he’s not making more than $1,000-$2,000 a month with his infoproducts and online job opportunities. He’s so burned out that he took a week off to re-charge his batteries. In other words, he took a vacation from his vacation.  You’d think as a full-time blogger working 3-5 hours a day that you’d probably post every day and never burn out. But, he only posts 2 to 3X a week and writes that he’s frustrated nobody has given him a book deal. Come on now. $1,000-$2,000 ain’t too shabby for kicking back!

DO PEOPLE REALLY ONLY WORK 40 HOURS A WEEK OR LESS?

Are there really people out there who only work 40 hours or less a week and complain about why they can’t get ahead or make enough money? That’s like slacking off in school and expecting Google to hire you for big bucks. Ain’t gonna happen. I don’t think I’ve ever worked less than 40 hours a week when healthy. Day job work is around 55-60 hours a week and online work is another 20 hours of fun work a week for a total of 75-80 hours. Add on 35-42 hours a week for sleep, that still leaves 50 hours a week to spend with family, friends, and extracurricular activities. It’s not like the 75-80 hours a week spent on work is all just work either. It’s fun to interact online, go play golf with clients, get some lunch and earn some income in the process.

Perhaps society has manipulated people into believing that 40 hours a week is a normal time to spend on the job or on an endeavor.  There are two ways to get ahead: 1) Work harder and smarter than everybody else and 2) Make everybody else work less and dumber. If you ask any super successful person how many hours a week they work I can guarantee you that it’s way more than 40 hours a week.

Do you think President Obama works only 40 hours a week? Hell no! He regularly works 60-70 hours a week and is on call 24-7. Do you think Mark Zuckerberg works 40 hours a week?  He worked around the clock to build Facebook to what it is today. Do you think doctors don’t study night and day for their MCATs to then go on single digit work hour rounds? The answer is “no”, and you know that.

40 HOURS A WEEK IS A WALK IN THE PARK, SO JUST BE HAPPY

If you can work 40 hours a week and be satisfied with what you have, more power to you. I definitely plan to work less than 40 hours a week during retirement. However, if you are complaining about life and why you don’t have enough money and only work 40 hours a week, you need to get your head checked. We live in a very competitive society and anybody who wants to be better than average can’t work 40 hours and expect to be more than they’re not.

Update 10/16/2013: I retired because I no longer want to work more than 40 hours a week! Instead, I’m working 15-20 hours a week on building passive income so I don’t have to work anymore.

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Regards,

Sam

 

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. says

    I know that I work more than 40 hours per week and figure that I will do at least that much until I die. I can’t imagine retiring to do nothing so I will be doing something or I would go nuts.

  2. Darwin's Money says

    Data point #1: 8:30 AM is an hour EARLY? What planet is that on?

    Data point #2: People could always make more but many don’t go outside the conventional box to make more. For instance, many people don’t have more than 40 hours per week available to them at one job, so they’d have to get a second job. I know many teachers who bartend on the weekend and do landscaping in summers so they can make $80-$100K instead of $50K. But others are single parents, in school or whatever – and they can’t find the time to work more. Agree – many can, some can’t though.

    Data point #3: Paying OT over 40 hours is more of a legal win for trial lawyers than something companies want to do. I’ve been seeing pharma sales reps winning court cases where they want OT for woooing clients at dinners and sporting events at night and such. I think that’s kind of a joke – you’re in sales! not to mention they can get their runs done during the daytime hours in 20 hours a week so they’re doing some extra work at night, but I digress. Court cases are forcing this isssue, gee, I wonder why US companies want to hire overseas?

    Data point #4: I’ve written 5-10 articles a week for years on top of a full-time job, parenting, coaching and all that good stuff. Now granted, some of my articles are brief 20 minute gigs and maybe these pro-bloggers put several hours into each one. But I never got the notion of being “burnt out” writing 2 articles in a week.

    • says

      I’m impressed you can write that much. I would need to be a full time writer or at least only work 30hrs a week at my day job to accomplish that feat.

      Should we feel sorry for those who don’t have the stamina and try and help em out or no?

      • Darwin's Money says

        Sam,
        How long does it take you to write an article? Mine are probably 20-50 mins each, so let’s call it 40 to be conservative. On say, a 9 article week, 9*40=360=6 hours. That’s not really a lot of time, I mean, I spend about 9P-11P each weeknight on blog/email/paying bills or whatever I need to do once my kids go to sleep. Occasionally, I’ll comment on blogs and hit my blog comments at night or on weekends or, like this week, when on vacation while my kid’s napping. But all together, I probably spend under 20 hours a week on blog stuff.

        So, if I work a 50 hr wk (granted, very short commute and occasionally work from home), adding 20 is just a 70 hr week. Not really too crazy; you stated yourself you’re an 80+ hr/wk guy yourself, right? I do sleep less than I used to and no longer watch much TV, sports included. But right now my priorities are the kids, saving for college/retirement and having fun. So, I don’t mind sacrificing some things that I used to enjoy.

        To your question, I think people should make the best decisions for them regarding work/life balance and be accepting of the outcomes. We already “help out” over a hundred million Americans who don’t pay any federal income taxes as we know.

        Thanks for the shoutout in comment below; appreciate the compliment.

        • says

          It usually takes about 35 minutes to 2 hours. A lot of my articles recently have been in the 1,500 word range so it’s taking longer than expected.

          If all I had to do is write, I could potentially pump out 10 a week consistently. However, running the Yakezie Network entails a lot of responsibility and time which nobody really sees. Since I know how hard it is to create something of this size, I will definitely seek out someone who replicates a similar organization in another genre. It’s not easy at all.

  3. says

    this is an interesting post. lifestyle design is a neat concept in that one can choose the type of life they want to live. the key is to be realistic about financial expectations. it seems from the post that you are implying most are not – in that they want the lifestyle, but are surprised / or complain about the financial situation they are in. while that may be the case for many, i personally know plenty who are living the life they want (working much less than 40 hours) and still making the money to put them in the top 5% of the population. that said, it took everyone some time and sacrifices (such as working 60-70 hours per week) to put themselves in a position where their current reality has been made possible.

    Answers Below:

    do you know people out there who work 40 hours a week and complain about not getting ahead? YES – MAJORITY OF THIS WORLD

    Why don’t they just work harder to get ahead? Is it easier to complain rather than do? – WORKING HARDER IS NOT THE SOLUTION. WORKING ON THE RIGHT THINGS IS IN MY OPINION (SELECTION / CHOICE)

    Do you believe most people can make more than $33,000 in America if they wanted to? – ANYONE / EVERYONE CAN IN MY OPINION

    • says

      I’m shocked if it really is true that the majority of the world works 40 hours a week or less. Are you sure about this? In my mind, only a small minority would work this little because people are rational and want to achieve more. Am I completely off here?

      • Jason says

        Yes you’re completely off here. There are a lot of people in my country, the United States, that don’t equate happiness with money or status.
        There are plenty of people who realize that we are given a finite amount of time and would like to spend that time enjoying life as much as possible.
        The goal is to strike a good balance.
        Yes work gives many people a purpose in life. It provides a means to sustain oneself and loved ones.
        But for many of us, working is not the point of life.
        I make over 80,000 a year right now and put in roughly 42-50 hours a week.
        I would gladly take a paycut back down to $60000 to work 30-35 hours a week.

        Unfortunately this is not possible in this country – and so I must work more than 40 and if it becomes too unreasonable then I must go find another job.

    • Derek says

      your out of your mind , first of all most people do not have the choice as to how many hours they can and cannot work, 2nd opportunity is not on a level playing field in this country thanks to the good ole boy system , credit score,company power to do what ever they want, and increase in competition for lower end jobs! furthermore the only d*ck heads that say these thing are the one who have benefited from the g.o.b. system or had a silver spoon opportunity that only a few have. this isnt me whinning it’s just the real truth. the top 10% should beware, because there nothing without the peolple who make it happen not the other way around!

  4. says

    I think your math is off… 80 hours a week of work + 42 hours of (not enough) sleep doesn’t leave 11 hours a day. It leaves 6 and half hours. And assuming you didn’t work weekends, it would only leave 2 hours/day.

    Not all employees have the option to work more hours. Many employers won’t allow their hourly employees to work over 40 hours to avoid paying over-time. They could get a second job, of course, but the availability of those options often depends on where you live.

    Personally, I have no interest in working 60+ hours/week for an employer. Do I want to make more money? Of course. Is my personal time and time with my family more important? Yes.

    PS: That $33k figure is far understated IMO, because a lot of people get paid under the table or via tips that they don’t claim on their taxes (like waiters, bartenders, etc). I do believe it’s pretty easy to make more than $33k/year.

    • says

      I agree that the math was off! With a week being 168 hours, remove 80 hours of work and 42 hours of sleep (which I agree is not enough and will leave one’s health in jeopardy) leaves 46 hours. Then one needs to consider how much time is spent in commuting to/from work (10+ hours per week?) personal grooming (7+ hours per week?), eating outside of work (7 hours per week?), and taking care of housework (about 15 hours for men, about 24 hours for women) before you can even get to “enjoying” family and friends. If you’ve been doing the math there…very little is left for “enjoying family and friends” if a man works 80 hours per week, and women somehow need to manufacture some extra time to even get those basic tasks completed.

  5. says

    5-6 hours of sleep a night is ridiculous. It is directly linked to an early grave. 6-8 hours a night (so aim for averaging 7) is the sweet spot that doesn’t increase chance of premature death. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070924092553.htm

    Some of us would rather spend more than 29.7% of our time with our family (50/168). That’s also not including time spent commuting, getting ready in the morning, getting ready for bed at night, and any other day-to-day-life chores people have to do (cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.). You might be able to outsource some of those on your salary, but folks working 60-80 hours a week to make 30-40,000 won’t be able to afford it.

  6. Leah says

    Hmm…I make a very generous income working 40ish hours a week at a job I really really like!

    Perhaps it’s that I believe in the “work smarter, not harder” movement, and consistently use the Pomodoro technique to guarantee my work ethic and prevent burnout? I never thought I’d be looked down upon as a 8:30 to 5:30 worker!

    For an entrepreneur, I understand long hours. However, if youre an office worker, you’re likely wasting a ton of time “working” 60 some hours or only sticking around for appearances because the boss is watching.

  7. says

    40 a week sounds so easy to me now. I’m not eligible for paid overtime anymore but I still work late if something has to get done. I know a few people who work extra hours but choose not to claim their OT which has always surprised me. They could get paid but they choose not to?! Are they really that lazy to leave money on the table? Or maybe they’re afraid to claim extra hours because it makes them more expensive than their peers and are afraid of getting put on the chopping block.

    There will always be people who complain about their jobs and never do anything to change their situation unfortunately. The sooner people realize they really DO have control over their future, the faster they’ll find ways to live and work the way they’ve always wanted.

  8. says

    I work 35 hours a week. I get paid hour-long lunches, so I’m in the office for 40 hours a week, and yeah, that’s pretty much it. When I work overtime, I am compensated for it. And why shouldn’t I be? My salary is based on the understanding that I am working for 35 hours each week, and if I end up working 45 hours that week, then I should be paid accordingly. (In my case, I’m allowed to accumulated extra hours during busy times and take time off during slow periods.) I do some freelance work and blog on the side, but that’s more a hobby than anything else. Aside from blogging, which earns me no money, I maybe work 10 extra hours a month freelance. Maybe more.

    And you know what? Sometimes after a long eight-hour day at work, I AM tired.

    I know very few people that work more than 40 hours a week and aren’t compensated for it. Yes, I wish I made more money, but I am in no way willing to sacrifice my free time for it. I, and almost everyone I know, value my work-life balance more than the boost in income I could get from working a part-time job.

    And I do not believe most people who are currently making less could make $33,000 if they wanted to, given the States’ unemployment rate. These things are never as simple as, “If she wanted to, she could be rich.” And some things are a lot more important than getting ahead. If I wanted to, I could leave my industry for another (that I’m fully qualified for, but would find the work un-stimulating) and triple or quadruple my income. But I don’t want to. So I don’t. But that doesn’t mean I can’t complain about the industry I’m in. By that logic, someone who works hard as a teacher, but complains about the salary, should shut up because “she could have been a lawyer instead.” It’s comparing apples to oranges.

    • The Genius says

      That’s exactly right about your teacher example. Free country. You choose to teach to help the kids, not for the money. Hence, any teacher bitching about not making enough money believes in unicorns. Thankfully, I don’t know any teachers who complain about money.

    • says

      If you work 35 hours a week (that is awesome), and then do 10 hours a week freelancing, that’s 45 hours a week. You don’t qualify for the 40 or less.

      I don’t know any teachers who complain about salary because it’s not about the money.

  9. says

    Oh, one more thing, you forget that different jobs can be physically taxing in different ways. Eight hours as a nurse looks a lot different from eight hours as a computer programmer, cop, lawyer, retail cashier, babysitter, customer service rep, etc. Just because 40 hours a week doesn’t take it out of you, doesn’t make those who it DOES exhaust lazy or not hard working.

      • Lisa says

        Absolutely,I’m 50 years old,female with a lot of problems with my back and feet and joints and fibromyalgia ,getting a divorce after 32 years and just started my very first full time job. I drove a school bus for nine years before this. I was without any income at all all summer until this week (8 weeks).That is a VERY stressful job,by the way. I am now working in a machine shop for ten hour days,with a 30 minute lunch and two 15 minute breaks and it really kicked my butt this week,but,I did it!! It’s not my dream job,its dirty and noisy,but,it pays well,was all that I could find and has good benefits. It is really mentally and physically taxing,but,I am determined to do it until I find something better.

        • says

          Lisa, that does sound very stressful.

          My post’s complete title should be, “Are There Really People Who Only Work 40 Hours A Week Or Less and Complain They Can’t Get Ahead?”

  10. says

    I’d have to say that people who only put in 40 I have a difficult time talking to. There’s always more to be done, and sure you’re not contracted to do it, but if you want to get ahead, you can get in there and work and extra 2 hours a day – that’ll make a 50 hour week. When I was driving a lot, I was working 15 hour days at 2 jobs + 3 hours in commute! Those days are behind me, but they helped put into perspective the amount of work that is required. Why slack off?

    • says

      >> I’d have to say that people who noly put in 40 I have a difficult time talking to.

      What does that mean? You’re chatting about the environment or sports or astrophysics with John Q. Public, find out how many hours he works, and have to walk away from the conversation? Or just that you hav a difficult time talking to people who work 40 hours *when they are complaining about work*? Because that’s a very different thing.

      What a strange lack of perspective from someone with a “sustainable life” blog.

      • says

        I have the latter problem. I find that quite a few people complain about not getting ahead or something like that, then I find that they are not working extra hours, taking on extra projects, etc.
        I can chat about most anything with just about anyone, and dont walk away when I find out they only work forty hours per week – that’s kind of funny.

  11. Dave says

    I’ll be honest, I work way less than 40 hours a week. I’m 32 and I’ve got a great IT job for a Fortune 500 company and I work 100% from home. I find I can get my job done in 2-3 hours a day, sometimes less and still be MUCH more productive than all of my co-workers. And I work a 4×10 schedule so I take every Monday off. I make a great six figure salary and I have plenty of free time to do whatever I want. I spend time with my kids when they are home, I optimize my personal affiliate websites (that generate a growing side income with nearly zero effort required), I brew some awesome beer at home, I read A LOT, I work out, I constantly maintain my family’s finances and investments including two rental units near the beach, I help several of my friends plan their investments, etc.

    I’m a big believer in lifestyle described in “The 4-Hour Work Week”. (Tim’s follow up book, “The 4-Hour Body” is also an awesome book if you want to get in the best shape of your life with very little effort.) The 40 hour work is no longer needed in my opinion. With the progression of technology, “work” has become much more efficient. Even the people I know who “work” 40+ hours a week find they are just “at work” for much of that time, not really “working”. Your time is the only REALLY valuable thing you have in life, I find no good reason to spend my time working to earn money for someone else, or worse yet, for some big corporation. If I could make a living with zero effort, that would be the ideal situation, but for now, I’m still doing about 10 hours of work 4 days a week and I can’t wait to get that time down to 4 hours or less a week…

    The only problem with having a great deal of free time during the week is that nobody else I know has that, so I find myself spending much of that time on my own. My weekend and evenings are packed full of things to do with my wife, kids and friends, but during normal working hours I am always looking for more stuff to do with my time.

    In any case, I hope all of you find yourself in a place where you only need to work a few hours a week to earn a great living for your families. I feel like this is a logical goal for any “worker”. Like a previous comment said (and a famous saying of Scrooge McDuck): “Work smarter, not harder.”

    • lesssard says

      I’m self-employed in the internet business and have 3 employees. We all work from home. I am MUCH more effective working from home than the times I need to work at a client site. We also bill per the hour so our work is totally measurable, and must be justified.

      I think a lot of people on salary in offices may not work as effectively as those who work (seriously!) from home. When I work in a client’s office environment, I’m subject to constant interruptions and social interactions. I would say as much as 20-30% of work time in an office environment is “wasted” on things like that…

      I still work 60+ hours a week and maybe 40hrs are billable in a good week :-) The rest is self-training, business admin & development, etc.

      People who don’t know any better think being a self-employed consultant sounds glamorous. And working from home sounds like I’m watching the soaps all day. Ha! The people who say this are usually the “35-hrs a week is tough” crowd and there’s no use explaining to them what discipline it takes. They just don’t understand…

      IMO, the hours I put in is the price I pay for being my own boss and controlling my own destiny workwise. They’re are people, however, who don’t think they can control their own work lives and always perceive themselves as victims. If you think you’re a victim, then you’ll only want to be victimized 40 hours a week…hehe…

      • says

        I totally believe you on more efficient work at home. I’ve worked from home on my days off before, and I literally go for 5-8 hours at a time without any break. It’s 10000% pure focus!

        Thanks for your thoughts!

  12. says

    When I was in the business world, I easily worked 60-70 hours at the office plus additional time at home. Whether it is expected or you see it as a way to personalize your job, it has to be done. It goes with being on salary. I see the additional effort as a way to make yourself more valuable. There will always be complainers who put in no effort and expect success. It is not limited to workers who only work minimally (40 hours)!

  13. says

    Yes, it is possible. But you probably won’t get promoted or be offered other good opportunties if you don’t. Those in their 20′s seem to be demanding more of a work/life balance than older workers. That is not met with smiles by their bosses, but those bosses are learning that it’s more common for this age group, especially the college educated crowd. They value their leisure time as much as the pay it seems. Perhaps younger workers saw their parents working long hours only to be laid off with few benefits. This is what I’m seeing/hearing/reading.

  14. The Genius says

    I want it all for little effort. It’s why those 80′s weight loss machines that vibrate the tummy were such a hit! We have convinced society that we can work 4 hours a week and be rich. Get rich quick skims will always be around, and make the creators rich.

  15. says

    I would like to bring up the topic about passive income. A lot of people realize that passive income is achievable, but most will end up failing in doing so. My point is what this post is all about. You will not have money working FOR YOU, unless you put in the time, effort, and educate yourself to make it work!

    I hope that makes sense :)

    • says

      Yep, I love building passive and side income. I believe my energy will slowly fade as i get older, and may only be able to work 30-40 hours a week a couple decades from now. By then, I expect passive income to be a major source of income.

  16. says

    It really depends on what you want out of life. When I was in college people at my work told me that I would no longer be able to work full-time hours because it was too difficult. When I ended up working full-time while in college full-time I had co-workers mention that I had not life. Yet I still managed to train hard and go out on the weekends while they got over weight and likely rarely laid.

    I think you can get great things done while working over 40 hrs per week. It’s just not for everyone.

    • says

      MD, I’m impressed you worked 40 hours a week while you were in college. Do you think that ultimately helped you or hurt you?

      Whatever the case, that is hardcore dedication which I would never be able to replicate!

  17. says

    It’s all (or mostly, anyway) about individual choice. Some people don’t want to work more than 40 hours a week. Many don’t want to work more than part-time. That’s ok.

    HOWEVER….complaining about not getting ahead when not working hard screams of entitlement.

    Nobody is entitled to be rich. Nobody is entitled to get ahead. It all has to be earned. Not putting in the work, and expecting all the goodies, doesn’t align.

    Again thought, working less hours is perfectly fine if expectations of income and lifestyle are kept in check. For those with family obligations, health issues, etc – that may be all that’s feasible or makes sense. It’s definitely not for everyone.

    One side comment: 35-42 hours of sleep is not enough for most people. It’s not healthy. Those that can do that are fortunate. But most people, whether they realize it or not, need 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night. That equates to 49 to 56 hours of sleep.

    As for the $33,000 question, I would like to think that most people should be able to make that. Of course, my perspective is skewed as I am relatively healthy and have a masters degree (MBA). Those that are not healthy and/or lacking an undergrad degree might have a more difficult time.

    Good post, thought provoking for sure!

    • says

      Hey Ray, thx for your thoughts. I always wonder how can there be such a mismatch for those who complain and then only work 40 or less hours a week.

      I really don’t think 8 hours is necessary to sleep. 7 hours is pretty good… but 8 just seems like a big waste of time. 1/3rd your life is sleeping? I donno.

      I wake up naturally after 6 hours, but I know plenty of people who wake up after 5 and have tons of energy.

      • says

        Ha!

        Sam, I know what you mean about the idea that 8hrs means sleeping away 1/3 of life. It’s tantalizing to cut out some sleep, since life is short enough so why not be awake more and enjoy life more, right?

        I guess for some of us, if we don’t get enough sleep (7 hrs for me) it means a less productive day and other negatives. For example, times I’ve worked super late in the office and gotten just 4 or 5 hours of sleep, I’m much less productive the next day or two and am much more prone to bad decisions in eating junk/comfort food, skipping any exercise, etc.

        Also thought I’d read/heard something recently about how problems sleeping can increase chances of dementia later in life. Nobody wants that.

        Anyway, that’s great that you can wake naturally after 6 hours. Gives you extra time to not only get things done but enjoy life without reprecussions that some others might otherwise face. You’re fortunate, it’s a gift!

        Actually now that I think of it maybe some economic value could be attached to this as well…

        • says

          I suggest doing a one or two week experiment and record when you naturally wake up every morning after going to be at a “normal” hour. Calculate that time spent, as I believe our bodies knows best. I think you’ll be surprised that you don’t need 7-8 hours of sleep.

          There’s too much exciting stuff in the world to sleep a third of your life a way! I don’t have a gift. I have a lot of enthusiasm!

        • says

          I am personally planning to give myself 12 hour workdays soon, so I have more time to get things rolling in the new year, but in order to do this and not ignore my girlfriend I will need to start EARLY.

          But not only do I feel like total crap on less than 8 hours, but my brain actually doesn’t work as good. The next day when I’m rested, I’ll notice all the crap I wrote when I was too tired to notice. So just giving myself more time by sleeping less doesn’t always work.

          What’s the secret, FS? If I want it badly enough, my body will respond in kind? I hope so.

          • says

            Yes, that is it. You will do it if you really want it. If you don’t really want it, then you just won’t do it. It’s that simple. So if you can’t do it, it’s simply b/c you don’t really care for it, which is cool too. Everything is rational!

            Doing work while the girlfriend is asleep or away really is the solution. She wakes up at 7am, you wake up at 5:30am!

  18. says

    “There are two ways to get ahead: 1) Work harder and smarter than everybody else and 2) Make everybody else work less and dumber.”

    Here is my view on working harder to get a head.
    I run 3 chinese foot massage business here in Los Angeles. I have been doing 12 hour days, 7 days a week for the last 2 and a half years. I haven’t gone out, drank, or do anything else social during this time.

    I make more money than 99% of everyone I know and yet I find that I have absolutely no time or chance to spend and enjoy the money I have made.
    I regularly check my friend’s facebook photos, and always see everyone happy and smiling, and all the while I just feel my life passing me by.

    I realize now I have become a slave to money. I think everyone needs to ask themselves “How much are you willing to sacrifice in order to get ahead in this world?”

  19. says

    I have found that some people complain no matter what because they like to be victims. Some of the people could also make much more money than they currently do and would probably just spend right through it and still whine.

    These days, I don’t know many people that can work just 40 hours a week. There have been so many layoffs that people are covering their own job and pieces of other people’s jobs. As a matter of fact, I was just talking with a coworker that worked 300 hours in July. He is actually a contractor and he gets paid for every minute he works. He said though that the money doesn’t matter anymore, but that the work hours are really taking a toll on him. (He is 60.) So, money isn’t always the reason for job dissatisfaction. (Not really sure why I went down that road in my commentary…)

    Anyway, there are definitely many people out there today that want to do the bare minimum and be highly compensated for it. Life must have gotten too easy for many because the minute they have to step up and do a little extra, they act like they are being so taken advantage of. I will say though, I do feel empathy for those that are stuck working so many hours and for no extra compensation week after week. Some companies just want employees to feel grateful they have a job and they do take advantage of the bad marketplace.

  20. says

    Couldn’t agree with you more – i hear the same argument from people who complain they’d rather be unemployed than work at McDonalds. Well, here is some news – Mcdonalds is a worldwide monsters with tons of advancement. If I had no other option, I would work the fryer there, because in 3 years I would manage a store and make 70,000 a year.

    40 hours a week is peanuts. When I was unemployed I worked more than that on my website, blog, odd jobs, and whatever else I could find. Some people don’t want to work, then they wonder why they still make $8 an hour. Get real people!

    • says

      High fives! I have a BA and now an MA, but if it meant survival I’d do what it took and work where I had to. Sad story though, I applied at a bunch of retail places (Victoria’s Secret had several locations and the discount is fabulous) and didn’t get a call back for one. I asked a friend who used to work there, she said she remembered they didn’t hire people with a 3 year degree, none the less MA students…yarg.

      Even if I couldn’t get a job though, like you did, I would totally be on the internet seeing what else I could do… when I was a fresh new grad student and was waiting on call backs, I sold my stuff online and took care of business I’d neglected.

      By the way, focus groups (If you’re in a city or area that has them) is a great way to earn about $65 or more an hour for your ideas during unemployment. I work for a company that facilitates groups and I’ve seen lots of unemployed people use it as a way to earn side cash while they look.

    • says

      Thanks for your perspective as someone who has been unemployed and powered through doing your own thing!

      I don’t know why people don’t think $70,000 a year at McD is a bad gig. Seems good to me. BUT, it does take a lot of effort, and if you can get $20,000 a year from the government and make another $10-15,000 in cash income on the side, maybe why not.

  21. Brandon Pearce says

    If you want to work less than 40 hours per week, then stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like an entrepreneur. I created a business (working more than 40 hours per week), quit my job 4 years ago, and now I work about 5 hours per week to maintain my business. If you’re new to that idea, check out the 4-Hour workweek by Tim Ferriss. It gave me a lot of help for steamlining and automating my business. Anyone can do it.

  22. Andrea @ nickelbynickel.com says

    Well, I have a feeling there will be many more comments on this post, quite a few nasty ones… lol. I mostly agree with you.

    It ticks me off when people complain about their situation yet do NOTHING about it, if you’re happy working your 36hours, good for you but if not get off your ass. I see it around me all the time. I live in an area with a lot of poverty but also a lot of crap attitude. Ugrh!

  23. says

    Once upon a time I was an employee (Now have progressed to employer, albeit a very small one yet). I worked for a Fortune 50 company at one of their satellite offices – head office for Canada was Toronto, Corp New York and here I was in a small office in Vancouver. While support staff were easy to get hold of the story was different when it came to getting hold of decision makers – at the start of my day they were already at lunch, which morphed into meetings and then poof! they were gone for the day, or so I thought. I soon adjusted my times and things began to flow smoothly.

    But not the way you may think.

    At first I thought the answer was to come in early if I needed to run something by someone. They were already at meetings! This was before cells and texting. I found that calling “after hours” was the best time to get hold of them – often it mean I was speaking to someone as late as 7.00 pm their time and sometimes even later! Of course these were the people who were on the upward track.

    There were plenty of friendly jibs and jibes between HO and us west coast slackers. It seemed that whenever they called after 4.30 our time (that would be 7.30 pm theirs) we had already emptied the offices – to ski, to sail, to play tennis, or just enjoy the company of friends and family. They wondered how we ever got any work done.

    We on the other hand would have none of it. The big thorn was “meetings”. Having had my share of attending these whenever at HO, I can attest to them, for the greater part being a colossal waste of time – now this may be unique to the culture of this particular corporation but somehow I doubt it. Our comeback always was that if they spent less time “meeting” and more time “doing” they too could leave at the appointed end of day hour.

    Things have changed since those days. My colleagues who are still at either that corporation or moved on to other corporations work long hours. The laptop has replaced the secretary – my lowly position qualified for only a shared, not a private, secretary but she was top notch and managed not only our correspondence and proposals but our schedules as well. But now the laptop usually comes home to be worked on after the family has been put to bed.

    When I went from employee to self employed, my hours became brutal. Now I have a small staff so the type of hours I put in are different – I still put in a lot of hours but employees do not see them, I attend pre-office hour meetings in the morning, attend after hour business mixes, workshops and seminars and my day is often filled with meetings with clients and future prospects.

    Now I’ve gone off on a tangent (I do that often), but here’s the thing. We west coast slackers made good incomes. Our quotas were high, we all met them. We had a great time and we managed to do it all within 36 (not 40) hours a week. Several of us declined promotions to Toronto because we knew that we would then be swept into the long days (not to mention HO Politics which in and of themselves can be very time consuming) and we weren’t willing to give up the slopes, the waves or the courts after work.

    I guess it all depends on what track you are on. I think everyone can make $33K a year even at $10 per hour. I think that $50K a year should not be that much of a stretch either if you apply yourself and that should still be doable within the 40 hour work week – but $50K isn’t a heck of a lot of money, so beyond that, I think you’d better be prepared to put in the extra to bring in more and to move on up.

    • says

      Hi Valentina,

      Thanks for your perspective! It’s so funny you mention the West Coast Slackers image East Coasters have of us. I think we’re less distracted by meetings and bureacracy that we just get things done that much more efficiently.

      One of the tricks ‘ve found is to make friends with your clients. That way, you’re hanging out with people you like, and it’s fun, and not work. Yet it is work, but you don’t even care. You then become probably one of the best people at your firm.

      Sam

      • says

        Hey Sam!

        Long time no visit … it’s funny I was driving home from a meeting this week and wondered about how Financial Samurai was coming along and decided to come visit – wow! It’s rocking here. But somehow I suspected that would be the case.

        Keep on rocking!

  24. says

    Holy cow there are a lot of replies to this- I think you hit a nerve, great job!

    I make a point along this same vein all the time about education. Yes, you went to school, double majored, got an insanely high GPA and rocked more clubs than Tiger’s wife but don’t expect to be snatched up as fresh talent in this job market. You have to put in the extra time to network, to read books on leadership, time management, personal development and your chosen career to have any sort of edge. Even a high value degree only puts you at the starting point with many others who do exactly the same.

    I feel bad for people who are “burned out,” I feel tired and drained at times too, but am lucky enough to take comfort in the fact that this hard work is for a real, tangible goal I’ve set out for. Working just to work and hoping for reward sucks.

    Great post, but I think you knew that!

    • says

      Hi Shannyn – What’s up with Tiger Woods anyway?

      Burn out is very real, however, there is SO MUCH true suffering in the world, that everytime I start to get tired or whatever, I just remember how fortunate we are to do whatever we want in America. Once we realize our blessings, there is no burn out.

      S

  25. says

    I only work 40 hours a week on most weeks but I don’t complain about it. In fact I am very grateful. This only applies to my day time job. If I add blogging onto it then I am probably more like 60 hours a week.

    I think what people need to remember is that they need to work as much as they need to to get what they want. That number will be different for everyone since everyone’s needs are different.

  26. says

    If I’m not working more than 40 hours a week I feel as though I’ve lost purpose. I like time off, sure, but I also like to feel like I’m working towards something, working to improve something, or just plain getting stuff done.

    The Dividend Pig’s comment is great about McDonald’s. Their store managers, who do work more than 40 hours a week, bring home some pretty good money. Same is true with Walmart’s store managers, who make at least $100k a year and are often hired from within.

    Where I live, $100k a year is some serious cash. Probably like $400k a year in CA or NY. I’m not exaggerating.

  27. says

    I agree that if you are unhappy about your financial situation there’s no reason you shouldn’t work more.

    But life is about finding a balance. Someone who is single may have the drive to work longer hours. Someone with a serious relationship or family with a home to take care of may not be “bored out of their mind.” They might be pretty dang busy when they’re not working.

    A while back – GE Miller of 20-Something Finance wrote an interesting post that takes a viewpoint that is basically the opposite of this post. GE believes many Americans are working TOO MUCH.

  28. says

    If you are salaried, you are paid to get the job done. If you are hourly, you are paid to work for an hour, doing what you are told. So HR describes it.

    I don’t admire people who work long hours for bragging rights. I admire people who get things that need doing, done.

    Most weeks, when I was salaried, I found that the day’s job could get done with 9 hours of actual work (10 hours office time).

    Enjoy life as you go through it. If you love to work, work. I you hate to work, find another job as soon as you can!

  29. says

    This is so….grey. This can go either way. Like the previous poster said, as a salaried employee you are being paid to execute. As an accountant, that means during monthly close, during budget season, during special projects, I am busting it hard. It comes with the territory. I am paid very well to do what I do and that’s that. However, you can’t confuse that with inefficiency. I’ve seen the type. They work 60 hours a week, but get nothing done. Being present is not a synonym for executing. What it comes down to is results. If you are uber-efficient and get killer results in 40 hours, there’s no crime in that.

    One other thing I would like to point out is about balance. I’ve seen it mentioned elsewhere in this thread. Hate to break to those who want balance, but it DOES NOT EXIST. Life ebbs and flows and you are wasting valuable energy fretting about trying to have balance. If you are a driven person, there’s going to be times you need to burn the midnight oil to accomplish something. If you have that drive, it will pay off where you have the time to experience the sweeter things in life at your own pace.

    If you try to balance everything, you are just sentenced to a lifetime ride on the hamster wheel.

    • says

      This situation is absolutely black and white. If you only see your job as an income, you will be hard pressed to ever really get a head. It’s about delivering above and beyond what is required of you, not punching out at 5pm.

      • says

        Right, but you said WORK, not job. If I am putting in 80 hours a week just at my job, I am failing, regardless of salary. That leaves me little time to work on other pursuits as well. I work hard at my job to devise systems so I can accomplish more in less time. I bust it hard at peak times and deliver more and more.

        That said, you are correct. IF you are punching out like Fred Flintstone at 5 PM every day, you are not going anywhere. And you won’t be working for me!

  30. says

    I agree, 40 hours a week is a cake walk. People that complain about 40 hours of work or less have no drive or motivation; of course, it’s easier for them to complain than to actually fix the problem. Perhaps they don’t like their jobs… one solution would be to find a new one that they like. But wait, that would be too much work :P

  31. Fin-Edu says

    After reading so many posts I have been able to conclude why this is one of the most productive and develop nations in the world. Everyone is committed to work longer, work harder…in other words, live less, be more stressed, die younger( hey at least that will be less people claiming Social Security and/or Medicare). Look I myself work long weeks, 50+hours, I do it because I am single, need the money to support myself (we are not all lucky to have parents, be them rich or not, to help or support us during our times of hardship) and have a good personal commitment to get things done. But you know working so much (it does not include commuting, wasted time on getting ready the night before, etc) has gotten a toll on me, mainly on my studies. I do not have enough time to study as hard or as much as I wanted; I don’t want to hear the cut on TV or other stuff advises, I watch only about 5 hours of entertainment a week, the rest is dedicated to other productive things of life; working out (which is one of the most important activities in life, if you are out of physical shape, mark that I am saying healthy shape not muscly like Arnold, it does not matter how much money you have, your body will take you down, and I mean down to the underground around 3-5 feet deep);also listening to music, and reading books, mostly technical or of practical use.
    Remember our lifespan is around 60 – 85 years (more is a blessing, less is very common) so if we wait until we are 65 to start living our lives many things could happen:
    *There is not a guarantee that you will still be there.
    *You are way too drained to do many things that require your younger body to do so (climbing a mountain or walking the Chinese wall).
    *Many things I suppose because I still am not that all but common sense tell me I must be right.

    Let’s make some math:

    1 Week = 7 days (usually we work 5)
    1 Day = 24 hours
    1 Work Week = 24*5 = 120 hours
    1 Weekend = 24*2 = 48 hours

    So if we work between 40 to 60 hours a week that leaves us still with 80 to 60 hours. Now we are biological machines, our brains work 24/7, so does every bit of our bodies, sleep is a state of hibernation on which the body slows down in order to do some maintance, recovery, etc; the brain create more synapses between neurons (we learn while sleeping actually, is like saving all the information from the RAM to the Hard Drive), so we do this important thing called sleep. Now some machines need 5-6 hours, others 6-7, others(very lazy or very hard working machines) require 8+ hours of rest to be ready for the next day. So that takes almost a third of our weekly time so right there we take 30 to 40 hours of the remaining weekly amount. Now we have only have left an average of 45 to 25 hours left each week depending on all the above mentioned factors. So if we include several factors like commuting 30 min to 2 hours daily, eating , getting dressed, taking a bath, other routine activities we would discover that our days are spend working.. just working.
    I am not against working, darn no; the world would be a horrendous place if we were lazy or slackers. But justifying that working is all you should do is cowardice. You remember those things called family, friends, hobbies, LIFE! they are the most important things on human’s life. We need to raise our children, we need to take care of our life partners, we must visit our uncles, grandfathers,aunts, others, etc; spend some quality time with friends, that is what makes us human, having that big fat account is not gonna make us happy. Again I will continue making sacrifices to improve my standard of living, but always trying to find an opportunity to balance my life in a better way.
    Going back to the math. We still have the weekends don’t we, except that when we realized it we end up doing work stuff, answering that important email, analyzing perhaps some data, etc. Or doing other things that are necessary in our lives, cleaning, doing laundry.
    So I ask, when is that we have Time to be humans???

    P.S:”Comments and refutals are welcome; please expose your point of views on my comment. Sam I know by reading your post and comments that your point of view differs from mine so I would be more than glad that you find flaws on my arguments…”

    • says

      Don’t know where we differ. I interacting with people, going out for nice meals, playing tennis and golf with clients, and grabbing that occasional happy hour. Enjoying what you do allows you to work 60-80 hours a week without any problem at all.

      • Janna says

        Sam, remember that most of us can’t count going out for nice meals and happy hours and playing tennis and golf as “work”.

        Also, your advice to work 63 hours at $10 per hour would end up taking a lot more time than 63 hours. You would have to have 2 jobs because one employer wouldn’t let your work 63 hours because they would have to pay OT. So not only would you have to juggle 2 schedules, you would have 2 commutes, etc, 2 sets of time allotted to get ready for work, etc. This assumes you can’t get 2 jobs right next door to each other with schedules back-to-back.

        If you are making $100 per hour or more, YOUR personal life may not be worth more than that to you. But if you are making $10-20 per hour, your life may be worth more than that to you. I’m at about $50 per hour, and I find that 40 hours is just about enough for me. Past that, MY life is worth more.

        You also forget that many working people are parents of young children. Those children need parents to work to maintain a certain standard of living. But more important than riches for children is parents who are present.

        • Fin-Edu says

          I agree with you Janna, this is precisely my point. Some of us can afford to work as many hours as we can, hell I would work a 100 hours week if that would help me get further in my career, but there others that cannot do it, the reasons vary but there are reasond for it.

          Now I am totally against those who collect unemployment and dont move a finger to find a job. I see “Now hiring” signs in plenty of places, are they lazy perhaps, not wanting to earn the minimum is not an excuse to place such a burden in the ones that are paying the taxes that keep the money flowing to the unemployed.

      • Fin-Edu says

        Sam sadly not everyone’s work includes doing such interesting and fun things as you are saying. Many people spend their work week traped on a cubicle, or in front of an oven. Working more than 45 hours for those people would drive them insane.

        Right now I am a slave of the cubicle, now the difference between those who sit and complaint and me is that I am looking for a way to create a better future and break the chains of the cubicle. Go to a place where if I work a 100 hours a week , that sacrifice will make a difference. The solution… getting a degree(Economics & Finance degree).

  32. Living The Dream says

    OMG! You hit the nail on the head. I work 12-14 hours a day 6 days a week and several hours on the 7th. I am not tired from working; I am tired from hearing the uneducated, lazy, low wage earners complain about not having anything and how they are abused by the system. Maybe they should get off their lazy, obese behinds and put some efford in to something. To each their own–it is ok to be poor, but they don’t need to criticize me because I choose to work harder, longer, and smarter than most other people–and don’t criticize me because I am at the top.

    This is the first time visiting this website! It is wonderful to see that there are still people out there that believes in hard work and personal gain. Thank you, Samurai!!!!!!

  33. says

    Definitely share your opinion on this one. I know quite a few people who are strict 9 to 5′ers and regularly bitch about not having enough money. Occassionally, I’ll throw out a few ideas on how to earn some extra dough, or even offer up a small gig helping me out…….and almost always you can hear the crickets chirping. When presented with opportunities, they ignore ‘em and prefer to go on believing they have a right to succeed without applying the extra effort. Very frustrating!

    I think it’s genetic…..some people are just born without the ambition gene. Maybe we should work on some genetic ambition implants.

    • says

      Not sure if it’s genetic. I think it’s more up ringing where parents coddle them towards entitlement and now the government is coddling them with more entitlements.

      Dont get frustrated as I think complainers may actually secretly be very satisfied. They just want an ego boost.

  34. says

    If there’s one thing i know about you, it’s that you are not afraid to hit a nerve and it’s pretty obvious which blogger you are making reference to. Just because you only publish 2 to 3 articles a week it doesn’t mean that you are not writing everyday. I also am producing multiple episodes a week for my podcast so the blog is not the only priority. As far as burn out goes, I think everybody is built in different ways and while the situation may appear to you as a “vacation from vacation” i think people should do whatever they need to do to get them back to a place of being productive. Your point on putting in more time is a valid one and Im realizing that now
    that I’m back here in the US with a reliable Internet connection and fully functional computer. But I think that it doesnt just come down to putting in more hours. It’s about spending those hours on high impact activities. You can write 5 blog posts every week but if you are compromising quality just to hit numbers and feel that you have accomplished more, then I don’t see the value in it. What I’ve been realizing over the last few weeks is that I have been spending my time in the wrong areas and that my priorities need to shift. At the end of the day all that matters is that you reach your goal. How you get there doesnt matter. Oh yeah, might as be clear that I can’t swim worth shit.

    - the blogger from data point #4

    • Financial Samurai says

      Srini, are you sure Data Point #4 is you, or you are forcing your situation into data point 4? You’re a surfer not a swimmer.

      Let’s address your situation anyway. Why do you think you have not achieved what you’ve wanted online so far? It seems to me you have a good podcast site and a personal blog that has some regular fans. Are you selling yourself short? Isn’t the income you’re making good enough?

      Why do you think you can’t write more quality posts a week given this is your full time endeavor? Many bloggers out there produce quality content and don’t blog full time. We’ve also talked before how you espouse visiting other people’s sites to comment and build relationships, yet if we were to look at the number of my comments on your site vs yours here, it’s about a 10:1 ratio

      Perhaps one motivational tip is to peg yourself against another blogger who has a bigger audience or traffic and see if you can match. It’ll help you focus on your goals more. You really should have no excuse not to kill it as a full time blogger with your two sites and full time capability. Get inspired by the part-time bloggers who are consistent, earning a healthy income, have a family and full time jobs like Darwin’s Money in a comment up above!

      What is your goal at the end of the day? If you are unhappy with your progress and want to live independently, you’ve got to really be honest and question yourself what you aren’t doing right and what you can do better. Only you will know. You have so much potential and good posts, I’d love to see you soar with more content and production!

      • says

        As far as the income, at the current time it’s actually the little bit I generate from my ebooks, and some freelance work. It’s not something I can live off of at the moment. In terms of not achieving what I’ve wanted, I think it comes down to focusing my efforts on areas that have a higher impact. Popularity doesn’t= profit. In terms of the comment ratio, you brought it up before, and it when you did I made a point to reciprocate. I also comment when I think I have something value to say. There are certain areas that you write about where my comments would add no value to the conversation because they are not things I have any knowledge of. As faras the ratio goes, given that we went as long as we did without me reciprocating, I might not ever be on 10:10 ratio with you.

        In terms of writing more quality posts a week, at the current moment I’m actually aggressively guest posting on bigger blogs, publishing 2-3 episodes a week on BlogcastFM, and writing 3 posts for my own blog. I do like your idea of putting myself against another blogger for the sake of goals. So, don’t underestimate the amount of content that i’m producing, just because it’s not on my blog. But, I appreciate the fact that you see my potential. I’ve always thought you were smart even though I don’t always see eye to eye. There’s no question that my location independent experiment has taught me that I have to figure out what I need to do differently and better. That’s more or less been my focus since I hit the ground here in the US.

        • says

          The best thing you wrote from your comment is “Popularity doesn’t = profit.” THAT is one of the points I’ve been trying to tell you for a long time!

          Forget about your goal of hanging or being with “A-list” bloggers. That term you use is really debilitating. Forget about trying to guest post so often on someone else’s site. Forget about trying to get everybody to love you. Focus on your blog like you’ve focused on Blogcastfm, and I swear it’ll just get that much better. Don’t lose steam on the Skool of Life. Pretend your life depends on it. You don’t have to write NYTimes quality posts every time. You just have to be as dependable in the consistency of your writing as Old Yeller.

          If you want to use someone as an anchor, or compete with someone to keep you motivated you are welcome to compete with me. We’ll keep each other motivated. Let’s rock!

      • don says

        Me and my wife prior to joining union we both worked 40 hours plus my overtime at straight pay .we had to live in subsidized housing for 10 years .i thank God for the government .then and when i retire I’ll thank God for Medicare and social security .I’ll never understand this anti government help .but your ceo who just gave you your 4 hour job is a hero .they know every number in nascar but couldn’t wind their own watch with the sense they have about what is good for them these stop the free handouts WWJD PEOPLE. ..why would people want to stop their own checks from coming but fox makes it sound great to vote against your own self interest.

  35. says

    I work about 60 hours per week, including my primary job and my blog (as well as freelance articles on other sites under my blog brand), plus I have some volunteer hours. I’ve got a lot more income than I need, and while I’m always open for more, 60 hours is at about my sweet spot. Any more than that, and I feel like I’m not working for anything anymore. I’d prefer to use extra time to do other things (and not necessarily relaxing- often it’s learning or doing interesting things).

    I agree that 40 hours is pretty low, at least for a single person.

    As an aside, I don’t see how we’re heading towards socialism when income inequality is increasing. The US has more income disparity than basically every other developed country in the world.

    • says

      60 is a pretty good amount and I could get used to that too. For now, I’m putting extra time while I have the energy to build the Yakezie. Once all the pieces are in place, I will just let the system takeover.

      We are heading more towards socialism because our government is redistributing wealth and providing huge government programs. I’m all down for it when I retire b/c I certainly would love to get me some of that.

      • says

        Except that less wealth is distributed than in most other developed countries.

        No free education after high school, no universal health care, lower taxes, etc.
        Top tax rates are lower than they were decades ago.

        It doesn’t make sense to call one of the least socialist nations, socialist, or to say that we’re heading towards socialism when the income gap is increasing, and top tax rates are at a fairly low point in modern history of the country.

        As far as the hours goes, the way I look at it is, blogging pulls in less income per hour than a primary job, but it’s a bit more fun than the primary job so it’s worth it.

        • says

          Not sure if you are aware, but President Obama is fighting hard for Universal Healthcare, which I support, and raising taxes, which I also support, but for income levels much greater than $200,000.

          That is redistribution of wealth.

    • says

      So far, Obama has been somewhat unsuccessful at bringing about his Universal Health care (instead we got the patchwork Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), and Bush era tax cuts were extended for 2 years from 2010 to at least 2012, when Congress will have to decide what to do with those.

      It certainly is redistribution of wealth, but the point is it’s much less redistribution of wealth than basically every other developed nation. And while we could debate semantics, it’s not necessarily about raising taxes, but about letting tax cuts expire (since we’re at a lower top tax level than previously). The semantic point is relevant because rather than increasing taxes, if they were to expire, we’d be heading back to where we were a decade ago, and even then we had lower top tax brackets than decades before that. So to call America socialist, or heading towards socialism, is kind of like being of above average height in North Korea.

  36. says

    I think that people have so many options (including watching other people live their lives in reality TV Shows) that works is not longer as important to them. They watch shows like the Kardeshians and think they should be able to act that way too.

    In some ways I prefer it that way, more opportunities for me :)

  37. says

    Great article, Sam… I agree with you completely. Working on a Salary (without overtime) and spending 80 hours a week on the job is about the standard around my workplace. And, although my annual salary is decent, when I factor in the number of hours of work, I’m much less impressed with my average hourly wage…

  38. Rachael says

    I average 32 scheduled hours a week but as a nurse I could pick up hours or be called off depending on census. In someways, I agree with you about working more hours to earn more money instead of just complaining about barely getting by. That has been a pet peeve of mine since my first job lifeguarding when the people who always wanted to leave early were always the ones who complained about not having enough money. At this point in my life, I am good with typically working under 40 hours a week. I am not one to spend money excessively so I would rather have more free time compared to more money. I am just lucky I choose a career where I can have flexibility and enough money to live on.

  39. says

    The reason people get paid overtime is because they job agreement with their employer is 40 hours a week. That’s the deal. You want more than the deal? Time to pay. Seems fair enough to me. Working free overtime is ridiculous – why would anyone do that? I could be having a nap instead – and if I’m not getting paid, that’s sure seems like a better alternative.

    You’re bang on about the $33,000 per year though. If you’re not working, it’s because you’re not trying. And if you’re young, working longer than 40 hours a week is a perfectly viable way to get ahead. I used to work 70+ hours a week; my full time office job then bartend evenings and weekends. I could have had more free time, or I could have more money. Pick one.

  40. Adam says

    If you’re working ”smarter”, as you mentioned, you shouldn’t need to put in long hours. If you’re working silly hours, chances are that you can’t do your job well enough in a normal/acceptable time frame. Not to mention there’s likely a strong diminishing return of time spent in the office vs the quality of one’s work. Working all of the time, unless you need to meet frequent nightly deadlines for some reason, could flag weakness in a worker. Aside from IB and MC, working late every night could even draw attention to someone in a bad way. An overly competitive and out-of-touch workaholic could ostracise him/herself from peers.

    That said, I don’t like complainers either. But by your logic, people who don’t improve their standard or calibre of work should be able to progress because they spend longer doing that same crap work.

    As a side note, the French aren’t a decent sample population to draw Euro-wide conclusions from! Although we do work less than Americans.

  41. Robynne says

    What are you, on coke? 40 hours a week is not a cakewalk. Is it all about money? I understand wanting to make a living but if you’re working 50 or 60 hours a week in order to own a new car and big house, I don’t get the point. Your beautiful car will be sitting in your parking lot at work and your big house will be empty (not to mention messy) all day. Maybe you hire a FT maid to do it– but someone’s got to clean. Also: cook, maintain a healthy lifestyle, etc. On top of cooking/cleaning, your 60 hours of “free” time each week will go towards commuting/running to the hardware store/getting groceries/taking out trash/getting ready for the next day.

    You make comparisons to Obama and Mark Zuckerburg’s work schedule as if they are normal people– but I’m sure their “burnout” time is fast approaching. Not everyone can go go go go.

    So, believe it or not, yes– there ARE really people who would rather work a regular 40 hour job and maintain relationships/hobbies which (GOD FORBID!) they don’t get paid for. I can’t imagine it’s easy to maintain relationships throughout such an time-occupying schedule, but if you feel like money is so important.. power to your wallet.

  42. burbb says

    Many of you sound like a bunch of sorry old twats. What is “work”? what you get payed for?
    I “work” near every damn hour of every single day I am awake. Minus about 12 full days of vacation or something. In my situation, I spend maybe 75$ a week on groceries (stupid things my kids and wife want) and we grow, tend, and kill the rest of our food. Chickens, our own cow, the gardens, and our cheese/vinegar/fermenting cellar are more than enough work all day every week – but I’m just doing it a different way.
    When you pick up your kids from school (force mine to bike) or go to the grocery store to get your weeks supplies and cook dinner for your family, I don’t mind if you consider that work. It’s work for me, I’m just doing it a different way because I’m cheap and don’t like relying on others.

    I guess it’s this seperation of work, family time, sleep, and whatever else that just seems stupid to me. Your life is one flowing mixed up not compartmentalized thing. When I used to work a normal job I would cut corners and piss in the corner every day.

    Even If I was logging in 50 hours a week 10 of those were’nt worth half of the amount I was paid for them. Every job is different but Even at work, you aren’t that efficient so get the hell over yourselves before the world outsorces your sorry asses to a robot who bitches less and can type 400 words per minute on popular topics with wit, flair, and poise.
    just do what you got to do, no one is forcing you into much. I agree with your general sentiments about people can (usually) make more if they want to- or like me, make WAY LESS but create the things you would normally spend money on..

  43. burbb says

    got that way wrong- meant to say 75$ a month on groceries… if that. I don’t make a lot of money but we have many different forms of income so everything keeps up and if I need more money I sell more pickled vegetables and solicit myself around more.

  44. JR says

    I used to work at a place that was under-staffed a few years ago. There were a few of us that always signed up for extra shifts (i.e. putting us into OT). There were many others who seriously and vociferously complained. Yet never offered to help out in any way.

    In later times I’ve heard people around (at the store, on the street, etc.) complain to companions, similar to your Data Point #1; “I had to work a shift today and now I’m so tired” I did not understand how a 4-6 hour shift could be so tiring. I’ve also heard and know others who seem unwilling to put in 30-40/week, yet complain incessantly about their situation. Usually followed in short order about how their situation is some one else’s fault.

    I think that I have worked pretty hard since I was about 16. Since I left high school I think my shortest work day has been ~10-12 hrs. I have worked 3 jobs to make it and put off sleep. I am not the sharpest tack, but I feel certain that I am one that will be around for some while. If things go well, I’ll be in jeans & t-shirt that are ~3 yrs old forever w/ a portfolio worth a whole lot. Maybe when I die my kids can have something. Or a worthwhile charity.

    • Janna says

      @JR – I am a little confused by your story of the extra shifts. People take certain jobs for different reasons, but most people are trying to earn money. Many people working shift jobs would be thrilled to work extra shifts which would put them into OT because they will receive time and a half pay and earn a lot of money. They are probably not doing it to “help out”. By the same token, other people may have taken the job less for the dollars but rather to get health insurance, eg., and may have a family to get home to. In that case, working the extra shifts would not benefit them as much as having free time. I see taking a shift job is a business relationship between employer and employee. Everyone does what benefits him – both employer and employee.

      On the other hand, if you are a salaried employee (rather than an hourly worker, which working shifts implies) and not receiving any compensation for the extra hours required due to under-staffing, then I would understand your feeling resentful of people not working the hours that you are. Although, I would be more resentful of the employer who made the decision to under-staff.
      (Excuse me if my response indicates that I didn’t correctly understand your story.)

  45. says

    Hey Sam,

    I’m pretty much 100% with what you’re saying here, but… some people DO get exhausted after 10 hours at the office. I’m one of those people, and I’m also really not a morning person. I know it’s something I need to fight against, but it is what it is, and some of us do have to deal with that. :P

    I still agree with the lessons that you’re trying to convey, and the bit about the lifestyle blogger made me laugh! Were you just making that up or is it true!

    • says

      Oh, to answer the question, I know lots of people that work less than 40 hours, but thankfully they don’t complain. A couple have a sugar momma, a couple more prefer drinking after hours, and a couple more prefer family time which is a perfectly valid choice to make IMO.

      Since I started blogging and now that I’ve been ramping that up I started “working” more than 40 hours a week, sometimes a lot more, but I don’t consider that work in the same way!

  46. USsquid says

    Lol! we live in a nation of slackers that’s for sure! I worked about 100 plus hours a week when I started my business. Being a full time, single mom, full time student, paying for daycare in the day and for the night, getting about 2,3 hours of sleep a day, it was rough. Yet it was doable, it takes discipline which I find most people simply lack. THe microwave generation sure has everything when they want it but forget about the cost opportunity of having it. Well a country that’s suppose to be so well educated, we are not really informed and those of us who are are very minute in numbers. what a shame :(

      • USsquid says

        Well, I call it that. Can’t really remember where I heard it being used like that. I am speaking of generation XY since I am in early 30′s now. I have friends who work about 40 hours or less and are always complaining about the amount of money they make. You do not need to work 63 hours a week to make 33k though, I’d be smarter about it. I am in real estate, so I worked really hard for about 2 yrs making before being able to slack off for a bit. Before I started my business, I was making well over the 33k and working less than 63 hours. Going into business for myself gave me the mobility I needed, so I went to work for mi casa. Oh and I was reading your rant about the shady appraiser, let me tell you, they are not all bad apples :)
        The real estate industry people are not all bad…my business in in real estate investing, and having a military background, my work is impeccable. It’s always a few bad apples giving us all a really bad name.

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